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March 31, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Same-sex ‘no-brainer’

It’s a “no brainer”-support LD 1020. Whether couples are same sex or opposite sex, they meet, date, fall in love and marry. Why shouldn’t same-sex couples have the right to legalize their marriages?

Anything else speaks to the injustices, discriminations and worse that have led humanity down its long abysmal path.

Phyllis Coelho


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Don’t upend marriage

Rep. Dennis Damon’s same-sex marriage bill has brought the issue to the forefront of Mainers’ minds. This is a very emotional matter, but Mainers must consider the facts before jumping to conclusions concerning this issue.

Personally, I do not discriminate against people of that lifestyle, but one has to wonder why they are going after the definition of marriage if Maine’s current domestic partnership laws provide practically all of the same rights and privileges given to heterosexual couples. Doesn’t it seem pointless to compromise an institution that has been around for millennia when there are no real benefits to be obtained?

It is certainly not wise to tear down an establishment that encourages morality in society and I am disturbed there is now a possibility that such a sacred institution might be upended needlessly.

We as a state should consider the laws currently in place which benefit same-sex couples before rushing to approve new legislation that would grant no additional rights and yet destroy such an emblem of our society.

Ashton Colby


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Hateful radio

Do the local radio station The Voice of Maine (103.9 FM) and other stations realize the ill-will they allow to be spewed daily by the hateful and biased national talk-show commentators whose programs they broadcast? Each of these hosts try on a daily basis to tear apart President Obama, his staff, and his programs in general which seek to help the country recover, as if it should all have been accomplished in the first 60 days.

Where is the fair play in this for the country? And where are their positive ideas? They project none. These people seek only to improve their talk show ratings, but at what price? By spreading dissension and negativity and dashing new-found hopes?

The majority voted for President Obama, and we should not allow a few such as these to attempt to derail our hopes for this country. Stand behind the one you voted for.

Robert Hood


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Erase the “R” word

The Special Olympics is taking on a cause that is indeed praiseworthy: erasing the “R” word (retard) from our common language and redefining it as a type of hate speech. I completely agree that this is a much needed effort. However, I find it ironic that this program, which creates a separate “special” Olympics for people with disabilities, effectively isolates and segregates the disabled from their communities.

By promoting activities that only include people with disabilities, the Special Olympics helps to perpetuate the “R” word mentality as well as the many other stereotypes associated with disabled people.

Currently, there are groups of people who are offering options for inclusion and who strive to remove the social obstacles that prevent equity. I work for an agency which encourages disabled people to be active and regular members of their communities; we do not support people in any segregated activities whatsoever. Instead, we support people with pursuits such as joining local bowling leagues and adult basketball groups.

Encouraging and advocating integration and inclusiveness is the genuine way to truly erase the “R” word. The segregation of disabled people from mainstream society needs to stop — this is the civil rights battle of the 21st century. It is time that all “separate” activities such as sheltered workshops, “special” classrooms, and all other segregated activities come to an end. It is time we move into the future with efforts directed at helping those with disabilities lead regular lives in their communities, not through seclusion but through inclusion.

Erica Cooper

Old Town

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No change in Russia e

BDN columnist Gwynne Dyer’ s piece supporting Russia’s right to a sphere of influence (BDN OpEd page, March 10) is completely off the track. While the West expands and exploits its sphere of influence through seduction, enticement and promises, Russia’s politicians are stuck in Czarist-Soviet mentality of brute force.

Did Mr. Saakashvili take the first shot before the Russians unleashed an overwhelming response? Probably. And yet how much shooting and insurrection are we willing to take in any of our cities, such as Phoenix, Chicago or Los Angeles before sending national guard or federal troops?

Mr. Dyer accused Ukraine and Russia equally for the gas war this winter. But Russians essentially dictate terms; after all, they sell the gas. In some respect one could compare Russia’s action to that of Nestlé’s sale of baby formulas in South America.

After the breakdown of the Soviet Union, Russia had an excellent opportunity to create a consortium of CIS countries that would have rivaled the EU, but their narrow-minded thinking doomed that possibility.

We are wrong in looking for support from Russia in dealing with Iran. Russia will simply use that issue to get concessions. There is no reason for them to change, they had consequences to face after invading Georgia.

Sure, we have to live with every nation in the world, but we better find someone else to help us with Iran instead of Russia. Condoleezza Rice, former secretary of state, said that Russia’s politicians have not entered the 21st century.

Bohdan Slabyj


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Headline here

On fairness, censorship

Once again I am compelled to respond to Mark Tardiff’s statements about the Fairness Doctrine (letters, BDN, March 17). He accuses conservative talk-show hosts of censorship. Yet the last time I looked I didn’t see Keith Olbermann bringing in any conservatives to counter his off-the-wall opinions. I haven’t heard a point-counter point from the smarmy one, James Carville.

Censorship is when the government tries to keep its citizens from hearing, reading or otherwise accessing information it deems unacceptable. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, etc., are private citizens who are not the government.

These shows are theirs and they can have anyone on they wish, and they will usually bring liberal callers to the front of the line to hear their views.

Do the liberals in the nightly media blitz of Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Charles Gibson do this? No they do not, nor will they ever.

Liberals are crying and stamping their feet because they can’t get their way. They don’t like dissenting opinions and want to take control, much like the current takeovers of the banking and housing sectors of private business.

Allan F. Smallwood


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